Neutrophil count may be an independent predictor of overall mortality risk among patients with localized prostate cancer (PCa), according to Canadian investigators.

In a retrospective study, Daniel Taussky, MD, of the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, and colleagues found that each 1-unit increase in neutrophil count (for example, from 4 to 5 × 103 cells/µL) was associated with a significant 18% increased risk of overall mortality in multivariate analysis.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study in the literature reporting an association between neutrophil count and prognosis in localized prostate cancer,” the researchers reported online in BMC Cancer.

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Neutrophil counts may be useful in treatment decision algorithms for localized PCa, according to the authors, who noted that their findings need to be corroborated with a validation cohort.

The authors stated that the association of neutrophils with survival observed in their study is in agreement with the now established association between systemic inflammation and cancer outcomes in a number of different cancers as well as mounting evidence supporting the prognostic importance of neutrophil count as a marker of inflammation.

The study by Dr. Taussky’s group included 1,772 PCa patients who had definitive external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy. Blood count data were available for 950 patients with a median age of 68 years. At a median follow-up of 44 months, the actuarial 5-year overall survival (OS) and biochemical recurrence-free survival rates for the 1,772 patients were 93% and 95%, respectively.

Multivariate analysis also revealed that age and Cancer of the Prostate Risk Assessment (CAPRA) score independently predicted OS.